Scenes from restored Chinese films that are considered classics — The Eternal Wave (1958).[Photo/Courtesy of the China Film Archive]
For instance, the subtitles of Laborer's Love display different colors, a typical characteristic of the old film stocks produced by the US company Kodak early last century.
"The movie was shot in 1922, indicating that Chinese filmmakers at that time were quite fashionable," says Li.
"From the turbulent years during wartime to the founding of New China and the rapid development in recent decades, some of the old film reels must have interesting stories behind them," he adds.
"Besides, the China Film Archive has also collected a lot of old film posters, mostly hand-painted by the staff of Chinese theaters at that time. All these consist of valuable heritage to help scholars discover many little-known stories in the history of Chinese cinema," says Li.
Li also introduces that the primary principle of restoring old films is to "restore them to their original condition". Hence, it is necessary for the film restoration specialists to carefully research the history and ensure that the restored images and refilled colors are in line with the era and background of the story, or with the director's original intent, he says.